Helena Bonham Carter is not interested in looking prim and perfect. From her intentionally smudgy makeup to her voluminous, accessorized hair, the actress’s self-assured style is truly her own.
I’ve always thought imperfect makeup is the best, which is why I smudge everything. I wear mascara, kohl eyeliner, and Suqqu The Cream Foundation ($78, selfridges.com). I like [layering] lipsticks for dimension. MAC Cosmetics Powder Kiss lipsticks ($24, maccosmetics.com) have a soft texture. I’m into scents and how they affect my mood, so I baste myself like a turkey in Ilapothecary Feminine Happy Oil ($74, net-a-porter.com). It smells like happiness in a bottle and is energizing and balancing. And Aromatherapy Associates Bath Oils ($71, aromatherapyassociates.com) are amazing because they make me feel automatically more chill.
I tried the celery-juice thing once for three days, but that went out the window. I always revert to my usual recipe: a cup of tea with cow’s milk, and then I have two cups of Nespresso coffee with frothy milk. Eventually, I have porridge with almond butter and honey, and I love cold yogurt and fruit.
I enjoy beauty looks that are transformative. Like when makeup artist Jenny Shircore worked with my face’s proportions so that I really did look like Elizabeth Taylor in Burton and Taylor. And playing Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter was cool because I had fun teeth. When my exterior is changed, all my internal furniture changes too, and it’s great therapy. It feels like what we did as kids, playing dress-up.
[Walking a red carpet] reminds me of what Maya Angelou wrote in her poem Phenomenal Woman. You’ve got to feel empowered. Shoes are the most important because you have to feel grounded.
My oldest friend, Carol, does my hair every two weeks. If I have to do it myself, I wash it and put it in pin curls to give it volume. I’m a big fan of Aveda Dry Shampoo ($32, aveda.com); it makes my hair look thicker at the roots and gives it some height. And I’m fond of hair accessories. I have so many clips with words, pearls, and sparkles. Adding them to my hair is like dressing a Christmas tree.
In the first season of The Crown [pictured above], the cast had oxygen facials because we were told it would make us look younger. They plump you up and make you look fresher for a few hours, but the effect doesn’t last that long.
Belt It Out
I listen to musicals when I’m getting ready. On Spotify, I’ll play Wicked playlists or Disney anthems.
People say I look really good, and it’s because I sleep a lot, which is the biggest collagen booster ever. It’s amazing that I achieve anything considering how much I sleep. I snooze during the day and eight or nine hours at night to help collagen production. I’m a walking cliché; there’s no way I’d rather look at my age.
I love putting on Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($55, sundayriley.com) before bed. I’m currently also trying Augustinus Bader The Cream. The jury’s out — I’m staring at my face every day to see if it’s plumper.
Playing suffragette Eudoria Holmes [in Netflix’s Enola Holmes, pictured above] was educational and revealed the extreme lengths women went to vote. It’s a privilege in my profession getting to know people from the past. We travel in our imagination to help the viewer go to different times, which shows how far we’ve come. We’re taught by our forebears, and it helps us all enjoy the now.
For more stories like this, pick up the January 2021 issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Dec 18th.
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